Thursday, December 27, 2007
As a writer, performer, and English major, the whole idea behind these editions seems completely misguided. It reduces everything to the "narrative line," while eliminating everything that makes the books truly unique and special. A story about a whale hunt is just that, but Melville gives "Moby-Dick" (one of the books in this list) so much more than just a narrative line, and that is what makes it a truly epic masterpiece. In a very American urge to reduce books to the size that can be read during a commercial break, these editions are designed, I can only imagine, for people who want to say that they have read the book, but people who don't actually want to be bothered to actually read the entire book.
This does come around to my primary career, however, because I feel the same way about the cutting I just did of "Romeo and Juliet." The script was cut down very appropriately for school students, but it wasn't exactly the best cut for us actors to work on. Like Phoenix Press, it kept the entire flow of the plot and the "narrative line," but it took out a lot of the poetry, subtle nuance, and reflection that make Shakespeare's play so much more than just a teenage love story. I didn't feel that way when I did "Othello" or "Much Ado About Nothing." Either the poetry in those shows is more central to the plot, or perhaps the cuts were more sensitive to those issues. I'm excited to have a full script for my next show!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I'll try to write more about the tour, but I'm glad to be home. It was a pretty long time to be gone, and a long time to be doing the same show for children. It'll be several weeks before I start on Spitfire Grill, which I am really looking forward to. But in the meantime, I need to find some sort of job to make some money. But I'm not so worried about that at the moment, since I'm really excited to spend the holidays with my family, my house, my cat, and my own bed(!) Tonight we're going to see a Sherlock Holmes play in New York, which I'm excited about. And then early on Sunday, I'm going home. The last time I was at home was October 2nd, when I left for CT to start rehearsing Romeo and Juliet. So I'm really excited to go home!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
But we only have 10 days left.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Oh, and it's my birthday today. Walking into the hotel, stepping carefully across the snow and ice creating a wasteland, I had this image of ordering some pizza, getting a coke from the vending machine, and then I'd sit on my motel bed wearing a paper party hat, rock slowly back and forth singing happy birthday to me... So this is how 27 starts
Saturday, December 8, 2007
After the intermission, the next pieces by Webern, entitled "Five Pieces for Orchestra." Using a wide variety of instruments, these pieces were played in only four minutes. Before playing them, however, the conductor explained that a large concert hall wasn't the best venue for the hearing of such pieces, so the orchestra would play them again after the concert was concluded. But this second time, the audience would be invited up onto the platform to sit with the orchestra, side by side with the people and instruments actually making the notes. The final piece, one of the last concertos by Brahms, was played beautifully by the two soloists, and then there was a short break while the stagehands reset for the Webern pieces. Once the audience was settled, the conductor had the musicians demonstrate some of the qualities of their instruments, and then they played the Five Pieces again. Hearing the pieces again was really remarkable, especially as I was sitting only six feet from the woman playing the harp. The first time through, the pieces were interesting in their sparceness. Hearing them all together created a very interesting sound. But that second time, the sound curtain was even more remarkable. Instead of hearing all the sounds overlapping and coming together, I could hear each individual sound coming in and out, playing with the others, and creating more of a aural texture than a sequence of music. This picture to the right represents a sneaked photo of the composer and the orchestra, taking their bow after the second playing. You can see the harp and other instruments in front of me, and the conductor is the grey-haired man in the dark shirt, just over the left shoulder of the woman in front of me. Walking home, I was really happy that I had decided to go get some culture while I was here in Chicago.
More info: visit the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at http://www.cso.org/
This photo represents the view of downtown Chicago from the window of my hotel room in the Travelodge. We had an early show this morning in Wisconsin, and then we drove to Chicago. We got into town around 4pm. And after relaxing in the hotel a little bit, I bundled up in my coat at hit the streets to explore. We are right in the middle of the city, and I could walk to the major shopping district, the theatre district, the Millenium Park near the river, and two different ice skating rinks. After finding something to eat, I grabbed apple cider and fried donuts at a Christkindlmarket, a block-long German street fair. There is also one in Bethlehem, PA, and they sell all kinds of food and drink, hand-crafted ornaments, German games and toys, etc. Those donuts were amazing, so much so that I've now included a picture of them on the blog. The outsides of them were so crispy and golden delicious, but insides were still warm and slightly gooey. The powdered sugar on top set the flavor off perfectly, and the apple cider warmed me just enough to keep me wandering around the city down over toward the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And since they had student tickets, I sat myself down in the orchestra section and listened to their program for the night. Pretty cool way to get some culture while I'm in Chicago. I'll write more about the pieces later, as well as post a mini photo gallery from my walk around the city. But at the moment, it's pretty late, and I have some orange juice and Dunkin Donuts munchkins waiting for me before bed...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Plus, I'm excited to have friends see my show! It's fun to say that I'm playing Mercutio, but I'm glad they will get a chance to see what I'm doing. Plus, it will make all the stories that much more real when they actually meet the people who are involved.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Last night, after our visit to the vintage toy store, we went to have some Mexican food at a restaurant in the parking lot of the hotel. While the food was delicious, I was plagued by a stomachache not long after dinner, and I spent most of the night in and out of the bathroom, sick to my stomach. It means I didn’t really get a lot of sleep last night since I was unable to sleep, and I had to do the show this morning very weak and with a sore tummy. At the moment, we are hanging out at a rest stop on the Ohio interstate as we wait for one of our company members to conduct a radio interview over the phone. Then at 3pm, we’ll get back on the road for the rest of our six hour drive to the suburbs of Chicago for our show tomorrow. We’re watching it snow outside, and the next week also promises to be a cold one. We go through Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan before coming back to Pennsylvania and New York City, and then we only have a week left!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Three guys went to see a movie, and then Tim and I went to the coolest toy store in the world! Not only did they have new toys for sale, but they had hundreds of the vintage ones. Old Mego action figures, old-fashioned Transformers, vintage GI Joe figures from the 80s, Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Superman, X-Men, Battlestar, The Black Hole, Simpsons, you name it. Tim and I each got a few things, but I'm sure that he'll have trouble fitting all of his into his luggage.
Now we're back at the hotel preparing for our show tomorrow, and I just don't want this vacation period of our tour to end. We only have three work days before another weekend off in Chicago, where I will get to see two friends of mine. And then there are only two more weeks before the tour is over. I'm very glad. I'm getting a little tired of being on the road so long without a break, and I miss spending more than two nights in the same bed. I'll also be very glad to have the room to myself again. I'm good about sharing, but soon I start to resent trying to sleep with very bad snorers, watching a lot of football and basketball, and, above all, sharing my computer. Checking email is fine, but when someone starts using it to search on Craig's List, that's a little much. How do I bring it up without sounding irrational? Any suggestions?
Of course, the most annoying thing of all is that my new camera has decided not to record any pictures. I turn it on, I take some pictures, and then the next time I turn the camera on, it has mysteriously erased all the pictures. Annoying to say the least, so I have nothing to share of the adventures today. Anyone want to buy me a camera?
Sunday, December 2, 2007
And to that end, my next project will be the musical "Spitfire Grill" at Cedar Crest College, the same place I did "Big Love" for those of you keeping score at home. It was produced off-Broadway in 2001, based on a film of the same name, and you can read all about it on wikipedia.com. The director sent me the CD while we were staying in Nashville this weekend, and I waited a entire 24 hours before breaking it out and devouring it. The music is fantastic. The composers blend broadway ballads with old-time folk sounds, making it a very unique score. The notes for my character go pretty high (!) but I'm confident that I'll get to them. I'll have to rehearse and really use the time well, but I'll get there. I've listened to it about four times in the last two days, and I'm already starting to learn all the words. I won't get to work on the show for another month yet, but I'm really excited for it. Tim challenged me so much when we were working on Big Love, I'm really excited to see what he can come up with for Spitfire Grill.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
After a big breakfast at the Waffle House and a morning game of Settlers of Catan, we went out to the mall near the Grand Ole Opry this afternoon. I searched hard for a cowboy hat that would fit me, but I didn't have any luck. Mostly, the afternoon was spent finding cool things to do in the mall (like an Aquarium restaurant, a stingray tank, black light mini golf, etc), but then looking closer at them and decided that the memories they would create weren't quite worth the slightly inflated price that they cost. So now I'm at the hotel again, playing some online games, reading my newest book, and trying not to think about working in Hollywood...
But it was awesome to learn that the Enchantment kids are keeping a blog! They can all post on it, and some of their entries reveal very different types of adventures. There is a book in here somewhere, I know. And if you visit their blog, click on one of the advertisements. That way, they'll get some money. And all actors love money...
Friday, November 30, 2007
After the show, we headed off to Jackson, TN, getting lost on our way out of the city, crossing into Illinois, back into Missouri, and then on the right road to Tennessee, passing by the St. Louis arch twice. (I've included a picture.) It was pretty cold when we got to Jackson, and then I won a game of Settlers of Catan that we played passing the time for the night. After the show in Jackson, we'll get to drive to Nashville, TN for the weekend. I'm looking forward to heading back to Nashville, but I think it's going to be strange to be in the city with a different group of people.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This is a photo of the Anne Frank statue at the memorial, and there are also stone monuments carved with excerpts from her diary, as well as inspirational quotes about freedom and injustice from people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dr. Seuss. It was a very simple memorial, but a very touching one as well. It looks like a quiet night in for me, although I might crack into some recently arrived baked goods....
These are the hard choices in the life of an actor. It's always hard to turn down the offer of work, but sometimes the work you're offered isn't always the best thing for you to do. I wish some days that I had a nice steady job, fixed hours, a scale for raises, benefits, and the knowledge that I would have the same job in a year. As much fun as this "professional vagabond" life is, there are days I wish it could be something else. There is no other job I'd rather do, though, and that is what is going to keep me slugging away. But when I find that other job....
Monday, November 19, 2007
In the music side of the building, there was so much information about Seattle and rock and roll it was crazy. Lots of musicians got their start up here, including Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. They also had about six different recordings of "Louie Louie," and an entire exhibit about the Battle of the Bands between two different versions of the song, one by the Kingsmen and one by Paul Revere and the Raiders. The Kingsmen ultimately won the battle, but apparently for a while the competition was fierce. Then the upstairs section had a room where you could play instruments, mix demos, sing along, etc. I didn't get a whole lot of time to look in that room, but Molly, Tim, and I did get the chance to do their "On Stage" program, in which we pretend to be a rock band and sing a song. We chose Twist and Shout by the Beatles, and then we rocked it out. We had a great time, and we bought the poster they were selling of our appearance. It was a lot of fun.
Then we went for a seafood dinner on the waterfront, and then played a few arcade games before heading back to the hotel. These last two days have been the best days on tour yet. Yes, I spent a lot of money over these last two days, but I finally feel as if I've been seeing some of the country! We're not racing through or running pass cool sights, but now we've actually had the chance to explore a bit. Made me feel ready to get back on the road and do our show tomorrow morning.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Also, as an entirely shameless plug for a friend, I've also attached a new blog, written by NYC based actor Susan Atwood, blogging as a part of Backstage.com. They have several actors who write about the career, but since I know Susan, she's the one that gets the free press. Maybe she'll link me....
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I’m writing this as I sit in the second bench in our van, driving on I-10 toward Mesa, Arizona. We have the day off tomorrow, and then we have a show in Phoenix on Tuesday before we saddle up again and head off to California. For the past 600 miles, we’ve been driving through some amazing country. Mountains and rocks rise out of nowhere and then disappear, and at other times you can look to the horizon and see nothing to disturb the plains. It truly is a pretty wild west out here, but the scenery is incredible. This morning, we stopped at a rest stop in Arizona, which advertised itself as the home of The Thing (the mystery of the desert.) We paid our dollar to get into the museum, and it proved to be a private collection of various historical oddities. There were some amazing old cars to start off, including a 1939 Rolls Royce that is rumored to have been used by Adolf Hitler. We then moved into the wine press, telegraph machine, scales, dating from the 18th century, Chinese artifacts from even earlier, and what the signs claimed is the only example of a “Matchlock,” a type of rifle that seemed to be mounted for use on a fort. Then there was The Thing itself, what appeared to be a mummified Native American, placed inside a wooden coffin with a child. The trading post also had souvenirs and such, but we passed on them and got back into the van to continue our travels.
As we pulled out of the lot, we were discussing whether or not everything we had seen was real. It was a strange collection to be located in desolate Arizona and not in a museum somewhere, but we started talking about “collectors” who buy and find pieces like that and put them on display. Ultimately, I think we decided that all of the artifacts we saw were real and authentic, but the truth on them could have been stretched a little. I don’t doubt that we saw a real fringe-topped carriage from the 1860s, but I question whether or not it was the one used in Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration parade as the sign claimed.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I did not take this picture, but it still looks like that. The rest of the trip was a little stressful, as most of us had something to drink at dinner, and so the trek through the wildnerness of Texas was peppered with drunken actors, pee breaks, and long patches of stress where there was nothing to be seen. Tempers were running high as we got into our hotel, and now I'm playing online as I wait for my laundry to finish. (I had no more socks.) I'm suddenly getting sleepy, but I wanted to get it out of the way tonight instead of dealing with it in the morning.
We have another eight hour drive tomorrow, so I'll also probably spend some of the laundry wait composing a playlist for the few hours I'll do. It's important to have goals and such.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
This was a very long day, and tensions were starting to run high. I was seated very firmly in the second bench in the van, headphones in my ears, ipod playing away, determined to either sleep, ignore, or detach myself from everything that was happening around me. As the stage manager, I have a lot of responsibility from 7am until 1pm, and then after that I want to just sit there and disengage. Some of our company are very "touchy," and it's making me cranky. We had a big discussion about saying "please" and "thank you" before we left, but I'll confess that I can't think of any stage managers who routinely throw those words into things like "Quiet in the house" or "10 minutes!" I've done this kind of thing before, I've stage managed before, and I know the tone of professionalism. So it irritates me when people want to treat this as anything other than what it is - a job. And a job that I know how to do well.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I was asleep almost as soon as I got into the van, and we drove right across the state line into Oklahoma. As soon as we got to our first rest stop, I looked out at the horizon to see nothing rising from the plains. As we're moving farther west, the areas are starting to look less and less like rural Pennsylvania and more and more like Arizona. I travelled the east coast last year, and I am really looking forward to seeing the west and the west coast this year. And yes, yes, I will try to post some pictures up here. Anyone want to buy me a camera?
And in case anyone is wondering, in Oklahoma, the wind does in fact come sweeping down the plains.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
But until then, I'm a little nervous. It's not about the technical aspect of the show - I know that will go well. I just hope there is someone there to open the doors for us at 8am on Monday. I've left messages on every number I can find, and I even emailed the tech directors based on the online technical packet for the theatre. I think we'll be okay, but I know that I am very easy and flexible when it comes to hitches in plans. And while I think that makes me a great manager because I'm not easily fazed by changes of plans, it also makes me an inconsistent manager because I don't relay that information to the people on my crew. I like flying by the seat of my pants, because it always works out for me. Maybe that's something to adjust about my managing style...
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
We also heard some great cover bands, two of our boys danced in a cage together, two of our girls danced in the same cage together, one of our boys made very good friends with several girls in a bar called "Boondock Saint," we went to a place called The Gumbo Shop (Yum!), I did some Christmas shopping, and then my roomie and I sat up into the night drinking cheap whiskey and wearing the deluxe bathrobes from our five star hotel. All in all, it was a wonderful night. Some pictures might be coming, but I had no camera with me, so I have to rely on the pictures and the kindness of others.
Then, after this wonderful night last night, we got into our van at 6:30 am for an hour drive across the lake to perform two, count them TWO, shows in Covington, LA. I think we were all a little scared about having a double day so soon after a late night, but we pulled through very well. Then we drove another four hours to reach Alexandria, LA, where we are spending two nights in a row. How luxurious... From here, we mosey on up to Conway, Arkansas, and then we head out into Texas. I'm really glad we have a weekend coming up, I'll tell you that much.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Now we're chilling in our Ramada Inn in Mobile, AL, and we have a show here tomorrow morning. Then we're driving down to the French Quarter in New Orleans to celebrate Halloween. I don't have a costume planned out, but I've got a great t-shirt all ready to go, and I'm planning to buy a kick-ass mask in town that I can possibly use in the party scene in the show. But we've got nothing much to do tonight, since most of the local downtown is closed except for the bars, but we might watch a movie.
I'm sure I'll have many more stories from the Big Easy. I need to get a camera of my own...
Sunday, October 28, 2007
This was a very mundane day. We cleaned up the house, and then drove across a lot of highway, before coming to rest at a basic pit-stop on our road to our next theatre on Tuesday. Not always a glamourous life, but it's the inbetweens between the fun.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Then in the morning, the hotel provided an amazing breakfast buffet that included waffles and scrambled eggs, and we hit the road nice and early for Tampa. Now we're chillin out at the hotel and swimming in the pool, before heading off tonight to see what the nightlife is like. Or maybe not... we're still discussing, so we'll have to wait and see what happens. We have an early call tomorrow morning, and we can spend the afternoon in the city as well, so I'm not sure what I'll do yet. Such hard decisions to make under the warm Florida sun.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
But then, heading back to Jackalope Jack's for lunch, we blew out one of the tires on the trailer. And then we found that there was a stripped lug nut on the trailer, so we had to call AAA to come and save us. We got on the road about an hour and half later than we wanted to, and then we made pretty good time getting ourselves into Atlanta, where we now reside. We're scrounging for dinner (no one wanted to go to The Varsity with me...) and then it's time for Monday night football. We do another show tomorrow morning, and then we drive back to North Carolina, and then down to Florida. We're going to be very well traveled, but only along I-85.
There was also a lot of fun, as an old college friend of mine met us this morning and came to see our show. Then we went to lunch (and had our tire adventure), and some of our company members decided to have some drinks at lunch. Unfortunately, this drinking continued into the van trip, and she was climbing all over other cast members and the bench seats. We kept looking at each other thinking "is this really happening??" And it's only the first day...
Sunday, October 21, 2007
And then this morning, we played disc golf in a local park near Chris’s house, and then we all piled back into the van to finish the trip to Charlotte for our first performance tomorrow. Once in Charlotte, we made our way through our weekly line-through and then went out for dinner at Jackalope Jack’s. It’s a sports bar with a shuffleboard table, and we actually stopped there for a few drinks when we were touring with Cinderella a year ago. It was pretty wild to be walking through a town that I actually kinda knew, but to know that it was because I had toured here a year ago. Jack’s had one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and everyone else had a great time there as well. And now we’ve gathered in my hotel room to watch Game 7 of the ALCS, rooting for the Indians. Go Cleaveland!
Our first show is tomorrow morning, and I’m a little nervous about setting it all up in time. It’s been a little hard to get in touch with the technical director at this theatre, and I wanted to just confirm where we were headed tomorrow morning. We know where the college is, we just need to find the theatre. The game is getting tense. The show is tomorrow. Good life…
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
That being said, having an actor fired with only two days left in the rehearsals is a little bizarre. I can understand both his motives and the motives of the company, but I think it's a testament to the strength of our company that we all took the news with such stride. There weren't any panics or freakouts, we just took a long break in the middle of the day, and then went forth again. Personally, I just spent the last hour looking over his notebook with cues and prompts, and I know I need my sleep for tomorrow.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
But also I find that when I must be on the road a lot, other aspects of my life must take a backseat to the art. Friends and relationships are often put to the test by distance, from the simple fact that I am constantly moving around the country. It doesn't always have bad consequences, but it's really frustrating when you are away on the road, and you miss opportunities at home. It's the price of the road.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
But I am going to try to make an effort to change that with this blog as of now. We're working on the show, running it every day and then working scenes with the rest of the day. Today we took a field trip to see the other touring cast perform at their tech rehearsal before heading out on the road soon. It was to see the stage, so we would know how much space we have and what the stage size is. But we haven't ever received measurements for our set, so spacing rehearsals are beyond useless. We don't know how much room we have, or how much room we want, so there is no way to just look at the stage and figure out how much space we need. I've also been waiting over a week to receive knee pads for the show, and we haven't had any costume/shoe converstations since our fitting on day three. I know there are boxes of shoes around, or so the rumor goes, but that should not be something I am responsible for on my own. I'm not picking through the box; I'm waiting for the appropriate time when the costumer will bring the box out and hand me things.
I've been learning over the years since I worked at Hedgerow Theatre, and I am developing a strong sense of understanding what is not my job. I have no problems being a team player, but I am not going to accept any duties that are not assigned to me. This company is testing my limits of being a self-sufficient professional actor. I understand that certain things are required of a touring troupe, but I should not have to do things that are not part of my job description.
And if I sound frustrated, you're right.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
This is always one of my least favorite weeks. I really don't like running the show for that solid week beforehand. I like working on scenes, and I like exploring moments, but I really don't enjoy just barging through full runs of the show every day. It's a little frustrating as it goes on and on, but I recognize it as a beneficial thing to the production and to other actors. Just like some actors need quiet before they work on a scene, my energy feeds in different ways off of my co-workers.
On Monday afternoon, we did our "clink," which is basically a stumble-through of the entire show as we have it up to that point. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go, but I know that all of my bits went exceptionally well. I had a few moments where I was reaching for lines, and a few moments that I knew weren't as specific as they need to be, but they are the kind of things I could feel immediately as they were happening. We were released early, and we'll be getting notes at our next rehearsal on Wednesday. We have a week left or so in which we can refine our show and smooth out all the rough spots, and this is always some of my favorite bits of rehearsal. Working with the other actors is always fun, especially when the actors in question are very talented and can bring lots of things to the rehearsals. We worked on a Romeo/Mercutio greeting the other day, and Frank (Romeo) kept adjusting the energy he entered with, which constantly changed the way that Mercutio greeted him. That kind of work is the most interesting to me.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Now, I'm also living in a hotel room with two other guys, and because we have a cot in our room, our floor space is kind of limited. But I just got back from the pool, and now we're in a hotel room watching the Cubs play the Diamondbacks. Not a bad start to this work.
Quote of the Day: "Golden Girls is a classy version of Sex in the City"
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
So these are the pictures from the show. First up, we see the brides and their grooms. Next, an action shot of the three boys performing our physical segment, with the white scarf as a feminine symbol and the stick representing masculinity. And third, a photo of me in mid-expression talking to Michelle, my bride. More shall follow.
It was quite hard to leave the area for the last time, as well. I know I'll keep in touch with the people from this, whether to share music or have them read this very blog. And hopefully I'll see them again, whether I visit the campus or they take a field trip to come see me in Romeo and Juliet. And I may even be back at Cedar Crest for another show later in the year. Whatever happens, it was a great cast to work with, and I had a lot of fun on this production. I'm excited to be moving on to the next thing, yes, but this one was so much fun and so artistically fulfilling that it will be a hard one to beat.
And, I promise more pictures, posted up here before I get too deeply involved in R&J.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
But isn't that just like an actor to go straight to the drinking and the party, skipping straight over the part about the show itself. We had a nice size crowd, not big not small, and it seemed like it took them a little bit of time to warm up into the show. They were laughing at it, and yet at the moments when I expected silence I was rewarded with it. They seemed to go with the ending bit where all the chaos and destruction erupts onstage, laughing it up as Michelle and I shoved cake into each other's face. Then we got to go to that reception and have people compliment the show. Now every actor likes being told how good he was, but for this show it was even better. This physical work is something that I've never done before, and it's great to hear that it connects with people, and that they can really appreciate the art that we are bringing to it. We have three more shows to go and then it's over. I wish we were doing more, but I'm also excited to head off for R&J. But I'll miss this character, this show, these people. I made great friends here, which is one of the reasons to do it.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
So, this is one of the promised pictures of us learning to rappel. That's Dave on the ground with me, our firefighter who helped train us. You can see the scaffolding from which we are working, hanging off into the middle of nothing.
The harness has been getting more and more uncomfortable as I added other costume pieces to it. It's really rough to be up on the balcony waiting in my harness, hooked up to my line. But it's still one of the coolest things to do on stage.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
As the final step, we moved out over an open section of air, since our descent in the show will not have the aid of a wall to jump down. That one was a little harder for me at first, since I wasn't quite prepared to go swinging into the middle of the air like I did. But Dave had prepared us well, so I recovered pretty quickly and made a nice landing. All three of us did very well, including our hesitant actor who is a little afraid of heights. It was hands down one of the most fun days of rehearsal ever; all the girls were very jealous of the fun that we got to have 15 feet above the ground. But this post alone cannot do justice to the moment, so some pictures will follow. The technical director was taking photos as we were working, and I've been promised some of those shots for this blog. So when I get the pictures, you'll get to see them.
I talked up both Big Love and Romeo and Juliet, and I'm trying to get the Fellows to come up and see Big Love. They run a show that weekend, but it's possible that they could come see a final preview or a dress rehearsal. Fellows came to see my production of Getting Married when I ran that at Bloomsburg, and I hope they can come see this one as well.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
After everyone else was released, Michelle and I continued to work on our dance/murder at the end of the show. Just like the time before, it was great to work one-on-one with her, with Tim advising and guiding our work. We came up with some great moves that combine sex with violence, including two lifts where I get to throw her around. It's fun work, although I realize one bicep is a little sore today. I still have two weeks or so to get into shape.
Tonight we blocked the finale of the show, in which our dance troupe joined rehearsals and we worked out how all the brides would kill their husbands. It was a pretty wild night, but the best part by far was that Michelle and I got a chance to work on our own for a bit on our encounter. Since she and I are the "principle" couple, and I am the first husband to die, we had the chance to improvise a bit of an encounter before I actually die. I liked bringing elements of my work with Enchantment to the show, including some very physical movement and a little bit of the dance work we had done with Cinderella. Michelle and I worked really well together, and she wasn't at all shy to voice her own ideas or to tell me that there was something better than the one I had come up with. Those are important qualities to have in a castmate, particularly someone with whom I will be working so closely. We didn't quite get to finish the whole sequence, but we'll keep working at it over the next few days. I'm again, very excited.
After running the second half of Big Love at rehearsal, we loaded ourselves into two vehicles and flew along Route 78 to get into New York City to see the Signature Theatre Company’s production of Iphegenia 2.0, another play by our own playwright Charles Mee. Another modern re-telling of a classic Greek myth, it also blurred the line between historical piece and modern play, with characters named Agamemnon and Menalaus talking about Jeeps and RPGs. It was a lot of fun to see a professional production of one of Mee's plays, especially since they have the budget and the resources to do the kind of spectacle that his plays demand.
The performers were amazing, using their voices and their bodies very well to tell the story. It was also a lot of fun to see Kate Mulgrew, Star Trek Voyager's Captain Janway, onstage in such a large theatrical piece. She was very effective, capturing attention and focus when needed, and seeming at home in the physical demands of such a role. This play also contained the sequences of music and dance that are in Big Love, as well a sequence of intense destruction and celebration at the very end. All in all, I liked the production. I enjoyed the story elements of Big Love more, but I liked the way the spectacle functioned in Iphegenia. It seemed more organic and less forced.
We also had a great time. In the car with the director and three girls of the cast, we talked and laughed all the way into the city, and then played a fantastic mix CD on the way out. I asked everyone there to think of driving music for me for when I leave on tour, and it was a fun time with some new friends.
Above all, I was struck by the dedication and passion of the performers in this New York production. And I realize that when doing a Charles Mee play, the stakes must always be very high. Everything is a matter of life or death, and a high level of committment must accompany every moment. This play is a challenge, and I love it.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I'm very excited to work on the show again. People have sometimes asked me how I choose which plays to do, or which jobs to accept, and I can only say that I choose what I think is going to be one of two things. I want things to either advance my career and skills, or I want to have fun. Recently, I've been very lucky about picking projects that do both for me. All of these projects are teaching me things, and I'm having a ball doing them. It was great to see everyone at the meeting today, and I promise, promise, that I will write about filming here on this blog. I'm really looking forward to it, even though it means that I have many more lines to learn.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday night was the first rehearsal for Big Love since last Saturday. And as I treaded the boards, I was very aware that I hadn’t thought about the show since then. The blocking and character work were buried deep in my head, but the lines took a little longer to come back to me. But everyone seemed a little sluggish as well, and it was also our first day as a company to work with our lead actress again. Her understudy had been rehearsing for a week, as our leading lady happened to be on a week long cruise. So part of the night was spent working her into new scenes, as well as working on old scenes now that we had her back. We didn't get as far as Tim hoped to get, but we at least made it to the entrance of the guys, and we got to throw our weight around onstage for a bit.